Tuesday, January 20, 2015

'Justice League: Throne of Atlantis' is the Least of All 'Justice League' Animated Movies So Far

At its core, Justice League: Throne of Atlantis is simply an attempt to introduce Aquaman to this animated universe since he was set aside for Shazam in Justice League: War (in the comics’ New 52 – in which this new DC animated universe is based on – the original seventh member of the initial Justice League line-up was Aquaman and not Shazam); the whole story merely served as the vessel and padding for it.  The movie also established the romance between Superman and Wonder Woman.  And aside from these two details, I find nothing appreciably special about the movie.  The overall narrative just feels so generic – it’s as if I’ve already seen this kind of story too many times before.  

I have a couple of nitpicks with JL: War, but I still found it better than JL: Throne of Atlantis.  The former has been more action-packed and had better character moments – both in quality and quantity.  In fact, if I’m going to rank all Justice League animated movies so far, JL: Throne of Atlantis is at the bottom (for the record, JL: New Frontier is still my most favorite). 

However, this is still the Justice League we are talking about, and the characters – and the team in general – is worth being excited about.  Watching all these superheroes interact is always worthwhile.  Heck, I would probably still watch a Justice League animated movie even if it’s just them hanging out in a cafĂ©, trading banters and wisecracks for one hour.  Thus, JL: Throne of Atlantis is still entertaining enough, but only because it’s a film featuring the Justice League.      

Still, I consider this new Justice League universe a work in process, and I’m very much willing to give it more time to develop.    

Miscellaneous musings (some spoilers):
  • Considering that they lacked chemistry in JL: War, I was hoping that the heroes would have already “warmed up” by now.  At the end of the movie, the Justice League is just only about to undergo the process of, as Batman puts it, “solidifying this team.”  But, once again, I’m willing to give time for improvement, including team dynamic.  Hopefully, by the next movie, they would truly be a perfectly compelling and thrilling team. 
  • If all this actually leads to Lex Luthor joining the Justice League, as with the comics, then this “New 52” inspired DC animated universe might turn out to be a brilliant idea after all.   
  • I understand that the DC animated features are more adult-oriented now.  But I still cringe whenever some expletives are spoken.  This is probably just the guy in me who considers the Timmverse, kid-friendly Justice League animated series as the definite animated take of the Justice League.   
  • Though it seemed that he was underused here compared to other JL movies, Batman was still awesome in every second he was in.
  • The thing I liked most about JL: Throne of Atlantis is Nathan Fillion returning to voice Hal Jordan/Green Lantern.  I had hated the A-hole Green Lantern in JL: War (voiced by Justin Kirk).  I don’t know if it’s just an illusion because I adore Fillion or if Fillion is genuinely just that perfect with the role, but it empathically felt like Green Lantern was suddenly perked up with charm and personality just because Fillion voiced him in this movie.
  • Green Lantern’s vacuum “cleaner-mecha” construct is definitely inspired.  Two thumbs up. 
  • Strange that Mera has been given more moments to be a badass than Wonder friggin’ Woman
  • John Henry Irons a.k.a. Steel had a cameo.  I consider it a “cameo” instead of an “introduction” since, as far as this animated universe is concerned, I doubt that Steel is going to be featured further and become part of the Justice League in the future.  Cyborg makes Steel redundant.      
  • The best moment of the movie is probably the part where Aquaman summoned a great white shark to devour Black Manta – Deep Blue Sea-style.  It was simultaneously hilarious and badass.  I never followed the New 52 Aquaman comics (where he has been redefined as a badass superhero after years of being ridiculed by comic book fans), but I know that the sequence was a reference to a similar moment in the comics.       
  • Was there really a need for Ocean Master to kick every Leaguer’s butt so that Aquaman can be brought to a position to shine by being the one beating him?  Boo.  I know that this movie is Aquaman-centric, but still, I didn’t like it at all.  Felt too indulgent – the dumb kind.
  • I’m tired of the idiocy of stories allowing underwater conversation through actual oral communication.  Unless the mechanics are explained, I always find it a distracting plot hole.    
  • I applaud DC for continually kicking Marvel’s butt in the direct-to-video animated features category.  I still can’t believe that, up until now, Marvel still hasn’t figure out how to fight back.  They have plenty of good materials to adapt – but they don’t.  Marvel has more success and know-how in universe-building (as proven by its shared cinematic universe) but they aren’t applying it on animated features.  I’m just baffled.        
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us is one of the most awesome comic book series right now.  And it’s the storyline/universe that I really wish DC would adapt next into an animated movie series. 
  • Next from DC Universe Animated Original Movies this year: Batman vs. Robin.  Can’t wait. 

No comments: